Dexos 1 Gen 2 vs Gen 3: The Ultimate Comparison

Written by

Charles Bolte


Vernon Hoppe 

dexos 1 gen 2 vs gen 3

General Motors have released a new specification from the Dexos series, the Dexos1 generation 3. Due to this, it’s no surprise that people want to know which is the better option among the available choices. That way, they can utilize the best oil for their engines.

In today’s discussion, we will explore the differences between Dexos 1 gen 2 vs gen 3 engine oil.

Check out the Dextrose motor oil chart below for easier understanding!

Dexos 1 gen 2 oil Dexos 1 gen 3 oil
Version 2015 2021
Viscosity Grade 0W20, 5W20, and 5W30 0W20, 5W20, and 5W30
Compatible Models Older and modern models of GM Newer models of GM and Gen 2 compatible models
Volatility Low volatility Low volatility (improved)
Brands Available Castrol, ACDelco, ABRO, DuraMAX, Mobil 1, etc. Castrol, ACDelco, DuraMAX, Mobil1, etc.



As mentioned, the Dexos series is released by the General Motors (GM) company. This series is a trademark by the automotive giant to signify its high-quality engine oil formulations.

As a result, you can expect Dexos to show up only on certified oils approved by GM. Among these are the Dexos gen 2 and gen 3, which came out in 2015 and 2021 respectively.

The release of gen 3 aims to improve upon the qualities of gen 2 oil, such as oxidation and engine cleanliness.

Similarities Between Gen 2 and Gen 3


Dexos gen 2 vs gen 3 is an interesting topic, especially since they are both specifications created by GM to address issues from previous engine oils. With that said, it can be thrilling for vehicle owners to see what’s new in each of these releases

Despite being formulated with different effects and protection for the engine, these synthetic oils can offer similar benefits. Let’s check them out below!

  • Aeration control
  • Industry-standard – ILSAC GF-6
  • Viscosity grades of 0W20, 5W20, and 5W30
  • Corrosion and catalyst protection

In short, both items work despite Gen 3’s higher-performing formulation. That said, Gen 2 of Dexos can still thrive in the competitive market of engine oil.

Differences Between Gen 2 and Gen 3


Aside from the similarities, it is only fair to assess the factors where these two licensed oils differ, so you’ll know what you’re getting at your next oil change.

Check out the Dexos 1 gen 3 vs gen 2 comparison below. You can expect gen 3 oils to outperform their older counterpart in these areas:

  • Volatility
  • Viscosity increase resistance
  • Chain Wear Resistance
  • Sludge Control
  • Fuel Economy Retention
  • Turbo Protection
  • Deposit Control
  • LSPI Prevention

When it comes to improvements, GM promised that generation 3 will meet the performance needs by enhancing deposit & sludge control and turbo & pre-ignition protection. These advantages will ensure smooth lubrication and avoid engine damage.

In connection with that, the new specification also provides chain wear resistance and viscosity increase resistance. These improvements will prevent lubrication problems, thus allowing the continuous flow of the engine oil.

Furthermore, oil evaporation and fuel economy also improve due to lower oil volatility.



Buying a Dexos oil product is relatively more expensive than a regular synthetic engine oil. In terms of its performance, it is proven that it can provide more and offers protection to the engine.

However, between the 2 specifications from GM, it seems that Gen 2 is more expensive than Gen 3. The status of Gen 2 might have something to do with it, as Gen 3 is expected to replace all Gen 2 products in the market.

According to the price comparison for 6 quarts of Gen 2 and Gen 3 0W-20 oil, the price difference is pretty much nonexistent.

Pros and Cons

In essence, Dexos oil has an impressive overall rating as engine oil. It is a quality oil that brings long-term benefits to the engine, which is a must to avoid motor damage in the future.

Furthermore, General Motors have conducted tests showing how it is more high performing than other oils in the market. Even if that’s the case, getting to know the perks and disadvantages people can receive is important regarding the 2 variations of Dexos.

Dexos 1 Gen 2

  • Corrosion protection
  • Compatible with older vehicle models from 2011 to 2017
  • Great viscosity
  • More expensive than regular oils

Dexos 1 Gen 3

  • Backward compatibility ensured
  • Caters to new vehicles from 2018 onwards
  •  High-performing oil (better than gen 2 oil in fuel economy, deposit control, and more)
  • More expensive than regular oils

Which is better?

After knowing both sides of the coin for these Dexos products, it can be safe to say that they excel in various aspects. For instance, Gen 3 has an improved formulation to avoid mishaps when using engine oil.

With these changes in formulation, it can be concluded that Gen 3 oil is better for resolving sludge, oxidation, volatility, etc. These improvements make it superior to its gen 2 counterpart.

However, that shouldn’t be the only criterion when considering an engine oil to buy. There should be a list of factors that people must consider, like the following items below:

1. Approved oil list


For better results, it is best to only use only Dexos oils approved by GM. There are a few options in the market which are accessible to anyone. Here are some of the available products to choose from:

  • ACDelco Synthetic Oil
  • Black Bear DXS engine oil
  • DynaSyn engine oil

Your car manual should specify the viscosity the engine requires, so take that into account when shopping for products.

2. Compatibility


Meanwhile, another non-arguable factor that people must have is knowing if the Dexos product is compatible with the engine itself. Use gen 2 oil only for vehicles that came before its introduction. If your car says gen 3 products are necessary, do not opt for gen 2 or an older version.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can vehicle owners mix Dexos gen 2 and gen 3?

In terms of adding either a top-off oil or refilling almost half of the engine oil, it would be best to consider not mixing the 2 Dexos items. That’s because both have different components, which could harm the engine depending on how they interact.

So, if a change of oil is due, select only one product instead of using two simultaneously.

Can I use Dexos 1 gen 3 instead of gen 2 for modern models?

The answer is yes. As mentioned above, there’s an assurance that the newer Dexos specification is backward-compatible, making it suitable not only for newer cars but for older ones too.


Choosing between Dexos 1 gen 2 vs gen 3 is almost an easy task to do.

Based on the discussion above, Gen 3 offers more than Gen 2. Of course, that’s because of the benefits it can offer. Still, Gen 2 can provide protection despite not being on par with the new Dexos.

It seems the final decision will be based on your preference and your engine’s specifications.

5/5 - (3 votes)
Categories Oil

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